The Cilip Governance Review continues and there is a two page spread in the Update Magazine (May 2014, pp 22-23) explaining what’s happed so far. Members will be given the opportunity to vote on the new structure at the AGM, 20th September 2014.
As I’ve said previously the proposals are in the main reasonable and will hopefully make Cilip more flexible and responsive as an organisation. However, I also raised concerns about the accountability of the Board particularly concerning the role of appointed members and their influence in voting for the post of President.
I also raised the issue that only elected members should be eligible for the President’s post as I believe there should be a direct link between ordinary members and the post of President. Currently Cilip Council is considering an amendment to the proposed byelaws that the President should always be an elected trustee. Hopefully, the amendment will soon be a reality. Personally I wouldn’t support the new structure if it wasn’t.
This still leaves us with the issue that a third of the Board will be appointed (unelected) and therefore directly unaccountable to the membership. I am not opposed to using appointed members as they can provide much needed expertise and experience. However, they would have ‘full and equal rights as members of the Board’ including the right to elect Cilip’s President. This continues to strike me as undemocratic. Therefore, I would urge a further amendment that only elected members can vote for the post of President.
One thing that struck me is that as part of the process Cilip has considered various documentation to help inform the new structure and quotes the following:
‘Governance pertains to the legal and formal structure for exercising power and authority in the association and ensuring a smooth operation that benefits the individual member and the entire membership.’
FLA Guidelines for Governing and Leading Library Associations
However, the same guidelines, outlining where authority and responsibility should lie, also states:
‘Usually this person or group with ultimate authority is selected by members and reﬂects the whole membership in order for decisions to be acceptable.’
My own view is that when it comes to electing Cilip’s President appointed members lack the mandate from ordinary members and as such do not reflect ‘the whole membership’ in order for this particular decision to be acceptable.’
As I said in my previous post about the governance review I urge Cilip members not to let these proposals go through without rigorous scrutiny and debate. Cilip is our professional body so let’s help it modernise but also keep it democratic, accountable, and answerable to its members.
Details can be found at What’s Next? and you can send your views to: email@example.com